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| Event type

Volleyball, Men

Date21 July – 4 August 1996
StatusOlympic
LocationGeorgia Coliseum, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia / The Omni Coliseum, Atlanta, Georgia
Participants141 from 12 countries
FormatRound-robin pools advanced teams to classification matches.

In the now standard format, 12 teams competed, separated into two pools of six, followed by elimination and medal/placement matches. The qualifying teams were selected as follows: host nation (United States), World Cup (Italy, Netherlands, Brazil), Continental Qualifiers (Tunisia, Korea, Russia, Cuba, Argentina), and qualification tournaments (Serbia & Montenegro [Yugoslavia], Bulgaria, Poland).

The two dominant teams in the past four years had been Italy and the Netherlands. Italy had won the 1990 and 1994 World Championships and the 1993 and 1995 European Championships. But they had always been closely pushed by the Dutch team, silver medalists at the 1994 Worlds and both Europeans. The Netherlands had upset Italy in the quarter-finals at the 1992 Olympics and only a few weeks before the 1996 Olympics, defeated them in five sets in the final of the World League tournament in Rotterdam. In pool play, the two teams were drawn together in Group B, and Italy won their match easily in three sets. As expected, they both made it thru to the final, which was a titanic struggle. It went five sets, with the teams alternating set victories. The final set was very close, and Italy got to 15-14 and match point, but the Netherlands scored three straight points to win the gold medal, 17-15. All three medalists came out of Group B, as Serbia & Montenegro (Yugoslavia) defeated Russia in five sets to win the bronze medal, their ever volleyball medal. They missed their team captain, Dejan Brđović, for several matches, including the bronze medal match, as he left the team after his son died from a brain tumor.

In 1985, the Dutch started a program unique in the Netherlands, in which the entire national team would train together, not playing in the standard Dutch competitions. Named after their base (the Bankras hall), the goal of the “Bankrasmodel” was to win Olympic gold in 1992. After some initial success (a surprising fifth-place in 1988), the team fell apart, with various players signing lucrative contracts abroad, and coach Arie Selinger leaving the team. They all rejoined for the Barcelona Games and, after a poor start, upset Italy and Cuba to win a silver medal. With a new coach (Joop Alberda), they became a consistent force, but always finished behind Italy, until the 1996 Olympics. In 1999, Dutch TV viewers elected the gold medal in Atlanta as the “sporting moment of the 20th century.”

PosNrTeamNOCWLPtsSetsPoints
1NetherlandsNED711521–6375–269Gold
2ItalyITA711523–5406–279Silver
3YugoslaviaSCG531316–14374–336Bronze
4Russian FederationRUS351111–15305–337
5BrazilBRA531318–10367–331
6CubaCUB531315–15356–347
7BulgariaBUL441215–16379–396
8ArgentinaARG351113–18362–404
=9United StatesUSA23710–9241–233
=9Republic of KoreaKOR1463–12156–198
=11PolandPOL0551–12168–217
=11TunisiaTUN0551–1598–240

Preliminary Round (21 – 29 July 1996)

Group A (21 – 29 July 1996)

Round-robin pools.

PosNOCWLPtsSetsPoints
1CUB41912–5233–191
2BRA32810–6210–187
3BUL32810–8225–212
4ARG3289–9222–225
5USA23710–9241–233
6POL0551–15151–234

Match #121 Jul 19:10CUB 3 – 0BUL
Match #221 Jul 19:30USA 3 – 0POL
Match #321 Jul 22:00ARG 3 – 1BRA
Match #423 Jul 12:30BUL 3 – 0BRA
Match #523 Jul 16:00USA 3 – 0ARG
Match #623 Jul 22:00CUB 3 – 0POL
Match #725 Jul 10:00ARG 3 – 1BUL
Match #825 Jul 16:00BRA 3 – 0POL
Match #925 Jul 19:30CUB 3 – 2USA
Match #1027 Jul 16:00CUB 3 – 0ARG
Match #1127 Jul 18:30BUL 3 – 0POL
Match #1227 Jul 19:30BRA 3 – 0USA
Match #1329 Jul 10:00ARG 3 – 1POL
Match #1429 Jul 19:30BUL 3 – 2USA
Match #1529 Jul 22:40BRA 3 – 0CUB

Group B (21 – 29 July 1996)

Round-robin pools.

PosNOCWLPtsSetsPoints
1ITA501015–0225–138
2NED41912–3209–131
3SCG3289–8215–191
4RUS2377–9181–216
5KOR1463–12156–198
6TUN0551–15113–225

Match #121 Jul 10:00NED 3 – 0TUN
Match #221 Jul 12:30ITA 3 – 0KOR
Match #321 Jul 16:00SCG 3 – 1RUS
Match #423 Jul 10:00NED 3 – 0RUS
Match #523 Jul 18:30ITA 3 – 0TUN
Match #623 Jul 19:30SCG 3 – 0KOR
Match #725 Jul 12:35ITA 3 – 0NED
Match #825 Jul 18:30SCG 3 – 1TUN
Match #925 Jul 22:30RUS 3 – 0KOR
Match #1027 Jul 10:00ITA 3 – 0RUS
Match #1127 Jul 12:30NED 3 – 0SCG
Match #1227 Jul 22:00KOR 3 – 0TUN
Match #1329 Jul 12:55ITA 3 – 0SCG
Match #1429 Jul 16:00RUS 3 – 0TUN
Match #1529 Jul 18:30NED 3 – 0KOR

Quarter-Finals (31 July 1996)

Single-elimination.

Referee #1 (Match #1)Qu ZhengzhongCHN
Referee #2 (Match #1)Cho Young-HoKOR
Referee #1 (Match #2)Frank LeuthäußerGER
Referee #2 (Match #2)Thomas BlueUSA
Referee #1 (Match #3)Barry DragonUSA
Referee #2 (Match #3)Patrick RachardFRA
Referee #1 (Match #4)Takashi ShimoyamaJPN
Referee #2 (Match #4)Songsak ChareonpongTHA
Match #131 Jul 13:30SCG 3 – 2BRA
Match #231 Jul 16:40NED 3 – 1BUL
Match #331 Jul 19:30ITA 3 – 1ARG
Match #431 Jul 22:00RUS 3 – 0CUB

Classification Round 5-8 (1 August 1996)

Classification matches.

Referee #1 (Match #1)Konstantinos MargaritisGRE
Referee #2 (Match #1)Jarmo SalonenFIN
Referee #1 (Match #2)Cho Young-HoKOR
Referee #2 (Match #2)Qu ZhengzhongCHN
Match #101 Aug 8:00BRA 3 – 1ARG
Match #201 Aug 10:55CUB 3 – 1BUL

Semi-Finals (1 – 2 August 1996)

Single-elimination.

Referee #1 (Match #1)José SanlerCUB
Referee #2 (Match #1)Frank LeuthäußerGER
Referee #1 (Match #2)Josebel PalmeirimBRA
Referee #2 (Match #2)Patrick RachardFRA
Match #102 Aug 19:30NED 3 – 0RUS
Match #202 Aug 22:00ITA 3 – 1SCG

Final Round (2 – 4 August 1996)

Medal round.

Referee #1 (Match 1/2)José SanlerCUB
Referee #2 (Match 1/2)Guillermo ParedesARG
Referee #1 (Match 3/4)Takashi ShimoyamaJPN
Referee #2 (Match 3/4)Konstantinos MargaritisGRE
Referee #1 (Match 5/6)Jarmo SalonenFIN
Referee #2 (Match 5/6)Petrus SchefferNED
Referee #1 (Match 7/8)Neill LuebkeUSA
Referee #2 (Match 7/8)Peter HenryCAN
Match 1/204 Aug 14:35NED 3 – 2ITA
Match 3/404 Aug 12:00SCG 3 – 1RUS
Match 5/602 Aug 14:40BRA 3 – 0CUB
Match 7/802 Aug 12:00BUL 3 – 2ARG

Rankings

Points
Side Outs